This Fun Friday post brings you a good laugh from advertising gone wrong.
We have seen a lot of campaigns that are misinterpreted when it is advertised internationally. Companies that are well known, such as Pepsi, KFC, Coca-Cola, etc. have made the mistake of mistranslated slogans. We posted, a while ago, about how Pepsi came up with a new slogan and when translated into Mandarin, it transformed into “bring your ancestors back from the dead” – yes, so hilarious!
And now, we’re providing you with more humor and examples of mistranslated slogans from other companies.
- Nokia’s new smartphone – Lumia – translates to Spanish as the slang word for prostitute.
- When American Airlines wanted to advertise its new leather first class seats in the Mexican market, its “Fly In Leather” campaign was translated to “Fly Naked” in Spanish.
- Coca-Cola phonetically translated the brand name in Chinese- “Ke-Kou-Ke-La,” which means “Bite the Wax Tadpole.”
- Parker Pen, a ballpoint pen maker, translated their slogan to Spanish to enter the Mexican market. Their slogan is “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you,” and mistranslated into “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.”
- Electrolux, a Swedish vacuum cleaner slogan in the U.S. translates to “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.” Yeah, they are going to get a lot of sales…
- When Vicks started providing their products in the German market, they realized later on that the German pronunciation is “Ficks” which translates into “sexual penetration.”
- General Motors introduced their “Chevy Nova” in South America, and they did not realize that ‘No va’ translates to “It won’t go.”
In conclusion, marketers need to be aware when advertising globally, because a slogan can literally be lost in translation, resulting in a misunderstood campaign. Although they are entertaining, this reflects poorly on the marketers who didn’t take the time to make sure the was represented appropriately in other languages, cultures, etc. If your brand is putting thousands if not millions of dollars into a campaign, the least you can do is check for accuracy!
“Real Business.” 10 Translated Slogans Gone Wrong– Web. 17 Oct. 2014
“13 Funniest Mistranslated Slogans Ever” | DailyCognition.” 13 Funniest Mistranslated Slogans Ever | DailyCognition. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2014.